by Charles W. Dowdy
My wife laughs at movies that are not that funny. This is one of my favorite things about her. The other night we watched a movie after the kids were asleep. Based on the cast, we were thinking it would be pretty funny. There was a laugh or two but also some sad stuff that was not advertised. Well, my wife got lots of mileage out of the few laughs, and listening to her laugh made me laugh; it also made the soppy, sad parts of the movie endurable.
When my wife really laughs she has this deep, infectious guffaw that seems to start at her toes and work its way through her body. For those of you who know my wife and have never heard this laugh, that means you know her fake laugh, which also means you are not that funny.
Think back now and listen to her laugh. If she ends her laugh with this kind of sigh, this kind of pleasant sounding exhaling of a breath, then you have just heard her fake laugh. She does this because she is a good person -- and because you are not that funny of a person.
Don't take it too hard. My wife comes from a family that frowns on silliness. Sure, there is a brother of hers who thinks his bodily functions are as funny as Eddie Murphy, but beyond that this is a family where you got to bring the goods to get a real laugh.
Her dad is the worst. He is actually a compassionate, loving man, but he has a way of looking at you that says if you tell a joke and it is not funny, then he will shoot you in your kneecaps. He is a man's man and not real fond of random silliness. Tears of hilarity will stream down his face as he tells some story about cauterizing some gaping, life-threatening wound on his best friend with some top shelf whisky. For him, if a horse kicks you in the crotch, that is funny. If there is a hint of silly in what you are telling him, if it involves a juggling clown or a mime or starts with the words "Knock, knock," if there is anything on the fringe of silly or anything bordering silly, then IT IS NOT FUNNY.
And he isn't going to waste oxygen with some fake laugh, either.
I'm sure you're thinking: That's just great, Charles; you've been married almost ten years, she's birthed four of your children, and the best thing you can say about her is she has a great sense of humor!
Usually when you say someone has a great sense of humor you say that because that person is six foot eight, weighs fourteen pounds, and speaks only in double negatives.
What I'm saying is that my wife does not necessarily have a great sense of humor. But when she lets go with a laugh, a real laugh, it is so worth the wait. And that kind of sums up the rest of her, too. She's not content just being a mom. She is a MOM.
And she is not just a friend, she is a FRIEND, and people tell her the craziest stuff about themselves and somehow she reacts in a way that brings them comfort when most of us would file for a restraining order.
Most importantly, she doesn't just love me, she LOVES me. I mean she REALLY LOVES ME!
Yippee for me!
(I guess that's two reasons I hope her dad doesn't read this one. Does anyone know how to cauterize a wound with cheap beer?)
Charles Dowdy is the father of four and the husband of one. He's a freelance columnist for several Mississippi newspapers. Editors may contact him at email@example.com.
Charles Dowdy's web site is not to be missed! He has to be one of the funniest, most irreverent writers in the South . . . or anywhere. Go see!
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